A DOG owner who launched a vicious 'campaign' against city centre cyclists, letting his canine sink his teeth into a number of riders, has been jailed.

Piglet the black Staffordshire bull terrier was spared 'destruction' by a court judge yesterday and will get 'rehabilitation' but the owner Alexander Andrews was told the attacks were so serious he had to be locked up.

In one of the biting incidents Piglet leapt up at a passing cyclist and hung on to the terrified rider's leg with its teeth for five metres.

Sentencing at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Peter Ross said that Andrews had used the animal 'as a weapon' and the dog had to be 'pried' off that victim.

Addressing Andrews, who shrugged his shoulders in disbelief during the sentencing, he said: "You were using a dog to intimidate, you were using a dog to threaten.

"You were getting angry with cyclists and you were whipping your dog up to behave aggressively.

"The dog [...] isn't of itself necessarily a menace but in your hands deployed as a weapon of intimidation it was."

The 47-year old of Woodstock Road, Oxford, had denied two counts of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury.

On the second day of his trial yesterday and with witnesses and a sworn panel of jurors waiting, the former computer programmer in the City of London had a change of heart and admitted both counts.

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Outlining events after his change of plea and jurors had been sent home prosecutor Helen Dawson said that Andrews had committed his attacks while at Parks Road in October and November 2017 near to Keble Road.

At the time, the court heard, construction work meant the cycle lane was blocked and bike riders were expected to dismount.

This caused Andrews to prey on passing cyclists who had disobeyed the signage and not dismounted.

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Pic. Google

In footage played to the court from his first victim Paul Mitchell's cycle helmet, Andrews - with his dog barking loudly in the background - becomes embroiled in a row with the cyclist.

After telling him the path is not for cyclists and is a pavement his dog then leaps up and bites Mr Mitchell, causing injury, before the victim rides off.

One month later at the same location his second victim Victoria Lackey was also confronted by Andrews and his dog.

Despite calls for her to get off her bike, the court heard, Miss Lackey continued riding past, 'concerned' at the aggressive demeanour of the man and his dog.

As soon as she rode by she felt a pain, prosecutors said, and immediately saw the dog with its teeth sunk into her lower leg.

The animal clung to her for a number of metres as she rode on before passers-by intervened and helped to pry the animal off.

Her injuries were more serious than the first victim, the court heard, and she will be left scarred by the attack.

In mitigation Andrews' defence barrister Sean Smith said that while his client admitted his guilt late it did show 'a degree' of remorse for his actions.

He added that being 'a man of means' Andrews was able to offer a 'tangible expression of remorse' by way of financial compensation.

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The court also heard that Andrews was of previous good character with no previous convictions.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross called the offending a 'campaign' of violence against cyclists passing by that area, and said it was so serious he had to pass an immediate jail term.

Andrews was jailed for a total of 18 months for each count to run concurrently and ordered to pay costs for the kennelling of the dog of £9,820 as well as court costs to cover the trial of £4,000.

He will also pay compensation to his first victim of £750 and £2,000 to his second, and is banned from keeping dogs for life.

  • Piglet the dog was made subject to a contingent destruction order meaning it will not be killed if it is kept muzzled and on a lead while in public. It has also undergone 'rehabilitation' to undo what its previous owner had done.